Updated Mon, Nov 28, 2011 9:48 pm
The Alexander men’s basketball roster has been reduced to something resembling Swiss cheese; it’s full of holes. One of the largest gaps left in the Spartans’ roster was punched with the graduation of star center Jack Hart. The 6’8 Hart led the Spartans all the way to the district semifinals in the Convocation Center at Ohio University where they fell to Piketon 59-54.
This season, Alexander will need to fill the void left by Hart and his four fellow graduates. The Spartans are looking to seniors Jake Gray and Zach Weffler to carry the load for this young squad.
“I’d say we’re with the top of the TVC,” said Gray. “I think a lot of people are underestimating us this year, so we’re going to surprise them.”
Even with a young team, the coaching and the expectations for the Spartans never change, according to head coach Blaine Gabriel.
“We have a system,” said Gabriel, “all we did was interchange some parts. We can change some things around a little bit, but we’ve had one way here and it’s worked out for us for ten years.”
Gabriel’s numbers back up his sentiments. Gabriel is only eight wins away from breaking Jay Rees’s record for most wins as head coach at Alexander. Gabriel’s career record as the Spartans’ head coach is 123-73.
The Spartans’ plan, according to Gabriel, is to run until they cannot run any longer. Hart’s graduation left Alexander without much height, so the team will rely on offseason conditioning and athleticism to wear out its opponents.
Alexander plays the role of underdog this season, but still looks to claw its way to a fourth straight sectional title.